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Second Regional Workshop on Better Connectivity with North Sea-Baltic Corridor


The 2nd regional workshop on Better Connectivity with North Sea-Baltic Corridor took place in Helsinki on January 18. This time the focus was on improvement of accessibility and opportunities in the northern part of NSB CoRe corridor (Sweden, Finland and Northern Estonia). Workshop is part of the elaboration process of joint transnational spatial vision on regional development, logistics and mobility of NSB CoRe corridor (the Vision).

The first step of the elaboration of the Vision is a desk research on the existing situation on the NSB CoRe. To complement this work and have a more deepened look at each particular country this workshop in Helsinki was organised and the local experts could provide their expertise on the existing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

More than 30 stakeholders participated in the workshop and took part in active discussions and more than 20 different organisations were present. All levels of government – local, regional and national – from all three countries as well as international organizations and ports were present, what added diversity and different opinions to the discussions.

In the first part of the workshop experts from each country shared their knowledge on “status quo” on transport planning. Presentations are listed below. Afterwards all the participants worked in groups and contributed to the elaboration of the SWOT analysis for the NSB CoRe corridor. Participants analysed each part of the SWOT in four categories – connections, governance, infrastructure and impact. Countless issues were brought up and multiple questions for further research were identified. It was stated that there are already existing strong connections and cooperation (such as Tallinn-Helsinki or Vaasa-Umea, cooperation between ports), existing infrastructure (road, air) is in a good condition, safe and reliable. Among weaknesses a lot discussions were about missing or insufficient links (for example, ferry connection between Vaasa and Umea, interoperability issues between countries), distribution of funding was questioned and the differences in planning system and planning periods were stressed. Lack of critical mass and low density of population, especially in remote areas, was brought up as obstacle to further developments of transport infrastructure, including construction of the tunnel between Helsinki and Tallinn.

A lot of opportunities to improve connections with North Sea-Baltic corridor were discussed – starting from harmonisation of existing plans and strategic documents to the elaboration of joint spatial perspective to improved connections among Tallinn and Helsinki through a fixed link, joint ticketing system and common planning. NSB CoRe could become a crucial connection for Europe with Arctic and Asia, especially Saint Petersburg. Through the development of North Sea–Baltic corridor connections between ports and airports in the urban nodes might get improvements. However, there are also existing threats to the improvements in accessibility. Growing competition, negative decision and not-realisation of big infrastructure projects (Rail Baltica, Tallinn–Helsinki fixed link), restrictions on border crossings are few to mention.

There were also issues on which there were no consensus. For example, existing cooperation among countries was mentioned as a strength as well as named insufficient in weaknesses part. Similarly, historical and cultural background was named joint and different. On the one hand, political situation was described safe and on the other – unstable.

Full SWOT can be found here.


To receive a comprehensive view of the stakeholders and experts along the whole corridor more workshops will be organized:

  • Workshop in Riga, 04.04.2017. for Baltic States stakeholders
  • Workshop in Berlin, October 2017 for German and Polish stakeholders
  • Workshop in Kaunas, November 2017 for Polish and Baltic States stakeholders
  • Workshop in Sweden, Spring 2018 to discuss the first draft of the joint transnational spatial vision on regional development, logistics and mobility of NSB CoRe corridor


Information was prepared by Liene Stikane, Spatial planner for NSB CoRe at VASAB Secretariat (liene.stikane@vasab.org)

VASAB (Vision and Strategies around the Baltic Sea) is co-operation of Ministers responsible for spatial planning and development in 11 countries of the Baltic Sea Region. VASAB Secretariat is responsible for the Work Package 4 “Spatial planning for NSB CoRe Network Development”.

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